Thursday, December 07, 2006

Blackhall Primary School and Local Community Council Xmas night-out!

Blackhall Primary School this morning ... very impressive establishment and really enjoyed being taken around by the Head Teacher and Chair of the School Board - even had a good bit of debate about aspects of educational policy with them ;-)

Amazingly calm atmosphere throughout the whole school - which I always think speaks volumes for what is going on.

Blackhall throws up some interesting dilemmas ... very successful school in terms of attainment, pretty good building fabric when compared to others across the city, probably not traditionally 'top' priority for investment ... but should all of that really prevent it being considered for further investment? Edinburgh is always banging-on about 'investing in success' and not just 'spending to avoid failure' ... apply that general argument to school fabric?? Not sure, needs to be a balance really and ultimately children's education simply has to be the top priority ... good fabric undoubtedly makes a difference, but so many other crucial elements require support as well ... staffing; parental-backing to mention but the obvious two.

On to my local Community Council Xmas Night-Out this evening - very enjoyable occasion at Jimmy Chungs in town! Managed about 4 main-courses and 2 puddings ... I do have a reputation to keep up after all ;-))

Lot of chit-chat about computers making all our lives easier (??) ... can't say it feels like that to me when I look at the number of e-mails I get on a daily basis! ... lots of them from members of the said Community Council ;-((

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

In your comment regarding South Morningside Primary School and Nursery in the Evening News on Saturday 9th December, I do not see the council "investing in success". More like investing in disaster! Unlike Blackhall Primary our school fabric is in dire need of attention. Our playground is already overcrowded, how can you imagine placing yet another "temprory" building on such a site? Please take a reality check. Please arrange a public meeting to allow parents and staff to express their concerns and opinions.

Andrew said...

Anonymous

I do take your point - but would stress that nothing has been 'defintely' decided regarding South Morningside playground/Nursery.

I am coming out to visit and meet the School Board in January - I was invited to thier December meeting last week but simply couldn't make it due to other existing commitments: sorry.

I do appreciate that a resolution is needed soon, so that parents and staff know what to expect at the start of the next 'school year'.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Mr Burns, before your meeting with the school board in January may I assume that you will have visited South Morningside Primary School at lunch/break time in order to see the overcrowded playground for yourself.

Andrew said...

A Another

Yes, I certainly will do.

The Board Meeting is at the very end of January I believe, so I'll make sure I visit before then - likely also to be in January now to be honest, given the state of my diary for the rest of December!

I'll set such a visit up via the Head Teacher.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

There are no spaces for 3-5 year olds in any of the surrounding partnership nursery facilities. I am very concerned that my 2 children will not have access to partnership nursery provision. I cannot afford to send them privately and am an avid supporter of walking. I urge you to try and locate suitable alternative housing for the South Morningside nursery. Regarding recent comments, could the council have sent another representative to the December meeting? That aside, prior to the meeting in January can the Council confirm that they have actively sought alternatives outside of the school grounds; including buying Braid centre; using rooms or grounds within Napier college; liaised with the NHS to see if they can help with space as they have many buildings within the surrounding area? Thanks.

Andrew said...

Anonymous

Thanks for your further comments - I am acutely aware of the pressures locally and can only assure you we are indeed actively seeking alternative accomodation. A senior council officer was present at the meeting last week - again, apologies that I could not make it personally - but I will be there at the next meeting at the end of January and will visit the school before then; hopefully in the first few weeks of next month.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

How can you even suggest that Blackhall primary should get some investment in the same week that you appear to condone the fact that the South Morningside nursery may be housed within an already overcrowded primary playground ?

Take a look around the playground when you come to visit in January !

Andrew said...

Sandra

Thanks for your comment - I certainly will have a good look around in January; that's exactly why I'm going.

To be fair, I don't think my earlier comments here suggest 'investment' for Blackhall?

Andrew

Anonymous said...

I would like to know where exactly in the playground you expect to put more temporary accommodation? Have you actually visited the school, there is little enough play space as commented on by the schools inspectorate - did you read the report? The teachers and PTA do a great job, but this school is already overcrowded due to the councils failure to find a site for the new school. We don't just need to find another site for the Nursery, work needs to be done bringing the building to a level that the teachers and pupils deserve.

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Andrew said...

John

Sorry - not sure I ever responded to your comment: please do have a look at my later post on all of this, see:

http://andrewburns.blogspot.com/2007/01/south-morningside-primary-school.html

... hope that addresses some of your concerns ... and I can only re-iterate that a short-term solution will be brought to the March Council Executive meeting.

Andrew

Andrew said...

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Anonymous said...

What sites are you currently investigating for the short term nursery accomodation problem?

Do you still see the purchase of the Braid Centre as the answer to the medium and long term solution to the many issues that the school and nursery face?

I think that it is the only realistic and sensible solution!

Anonymous said...

Hello, have you looked into the possibility of renting Fairmilehead Nursery? It will, apparently, be empty after the summer when the present occupiers move onto the new Pentland site.
There may even be space at Hunters Tryst school. This could be another solution to the immediate nursery problem. It will then allow you to put all your efforts into securing the Braid Centre for a permanent nursery and junior school. Just thought I should let you know.

Andrew said...

Anonymous

Belated thanks for your comments of 26th Feb. All the sites are now on the Council internet via the report being discussed at the Council Execuitve on Tuesday 27th March ... go to:

http://cpol.edinburgh.gov.uk/getdoc_ext.asp?DocId=96286

Hope that's helpful.

Andrew

Andrew said...

Idea

Apologies for the delayed response - yes, Fairmilehead has been looked at. Again, have a look at the main report by going to:

http://cpol.edinburgh.gov.uk/getdoc_ext.asp?DocId=96286

Andrew

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